More Easter baking

A long weekend is the perfect excuse to work on baking and projects!

I am finally thisclose to finishing my work on the bedroom. Walls are painted, shelves are built, pictures are hung. I finally finished the trim on the window box seat, although looking at this photo makes me think it could use another coat of paint. Other than that though, I am pretty pleased with my peaceful little corner - a perfect place to sit with a good book and a pot of coffee to watch the rain.

For Easter dinner, we decided on duck - easy and festive. I like this recipe from Epicurious. Super simple.

Served with spring asparagus, braised red cabbage, a potato gratin, and homemade bread.

For dessert I wanted something light and springlike after a rich main course - and Ontario rhubarb is already in the shops! So I opted for a classic rhubarb custard cake. I found a number of variations on the same recipe online - funny sometimes you see things on blogs with beautiful photos and recipes that don't quite make sense. It is so obvious that the pictures are borrowed because the blogger has no idea what they are talking about! In this case, the miscreant in question suggested you could turn this gooey-bottomed, fluffy-fruity-topped cake out onto a rack, and then flip it right side up again. Sounds like disaster to me! Others made it in a square pan and served directly from the pan; I wanted to be a smidge less casual, so I used a springform. Worked perfectly.

Rhubarb Custard Cake

1 1/2 cups diced rhubarb
2 tbs sugar
2 tbs water
4 eggs, separated, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup butter, melted, room temperature
3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 cups milk, room temperature

Simmer rhurarb, 2 tbs sugar, and water over medium heat until rhubarb starts to soften. Drain and set aside.

Beat egg whites will stiff peaks. I like to use a copper bowl for this.

In another bowl, beat yolks with 3/4 cup sugar till thick and lemon-yellow. Whisk in vanilla and melted butter.

Whisk in flour and milk alternately. It will be very runny.

Fold in egg whites gently.

Pour into a very well-buttered 9" springform pan. Spoon the rhubard over top, gently, so as not to crush the egg whites.

Bake at 325f for 60-70 minutes, or until it doesn't wobble terribly when you jostle the pan.

Let cool on a rack for 10 minutes before removing the sides of the spring form pan, then allow to cool completely befre serving.

Best served with whipped cream!


Hot crossed buns! Again!

For Easter, thought I'd post my recipe, since I've tweaked it a bit from the origina one I used, including changing the measurements from metric to imperial!

Combine: 1 1/4 cup warm milk 1/4 cup white sugar 4 tsp yeast

Let that sit while you sift together: 3 cups flour 1 tsp salt 1 tsp allspice 1/2 tsp nutmeg 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Then rub in as though you were making pastry: 1/4 cup butter (cut into bits)

Add milk/yeast to flour mixture, along with: 2 eggs, beaten 1/2 cup raisins 1/2 cup candied orange peel, chopped

Knead 5 min, cover, and let double (45 min)

Punch down, cut in 12 pieces, roll into balls, and arrange in greased 9"x13" pan. Cover and let rise 15 min.

Combine: 1/2 cup flour 1/4+ cup water

Add more water as necessary to make a fairly thick paste, but not too thick to pipe.

Pipe crosses on the buns (I don't do it individually, it's basically a big grid that crosses all of them)

Bake 10 min at 400f, then drop the temperature to 350 and bake 15 min more.

Now, back to my regularly-scheduled room redecoration project.


What I've been up to

Another long break, but it's not because I've been doing nothing.

First off, I spent the winter divided between being deathly ill (pneumonia, pleurisy), taking care of a sick kid, and filming on location in different parts of the province. Oh, the glamour of getting up at 5 o'clock in the morning to drive to Belleville! It hit me too late, "Oh yeah, this is why I stopped working in production," it's just too stressful.

Anyway, I did manage to accomplish a few things in the interim.

I built shelves!

Basically done here, although they still need a final coat of paint. As do the walls, obviously.

I have the paint and rollers and all ready to go, just as soon as I find the time...

I got yarn in my xmas stocking - what a clever Santa, bringing cashmere! - and knit a sweater:

Focussing a camera is not my strong suit. Also returned to a project I'd set aside before, a pair of gloves...

... to match a hat. Also did some baking. No photos of Mary Berry's Cherry Cake from Great British Bake-Off, even though I made it twice (once under-baked, once over-baked), or the Honey Cake from the Mile End Cookbook, but I did manage a blurry snap of the gateau St-Honoré I made for Valentine's Day - a small one, just for the kiddo and me.

And today, I knocked two long-half-finished projects off of the to-do list. I finished recovering the cushions on the porch chair...

... so it matches these porch chairs.

And finally, I finished off a pair of pyjamas. The Fenelon Fair has a category for "Ladies' Sleep Pants" which has unfortunately led to me having three half-pairs of pyjamas waiting for the tops to get done. The bottoms for these were done in 2014! Ah well, better late than never.